The NRCC elevated PA12's Keith Rothfus to "Young Guns" status today, marking him as one of their best bets to challenge an incumbent Democratic congressman, in this case Mark Critz. He was one of 12 challengers nationwide placed in the category today, and was also a Young Gun in his 2010 race against Jason Altmire, which he lost by less than 2 percentage points.
Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA), who won a tough member-versus-member primary against Rep. Jason Altmire, will face Keith Rothfus, who almost beat Altmire in 2010 in this re-shaped Western Pennsylvania district. We previously rated this race as leans Democratic with the thought that Altmire would win the primary, because under the new Republican-drawn Keystone State House map, the district was actually a touch bluer than Altmire's current district. However, because Critz won, this district could go either way -- Critz's current territory is several points bluer than the new PA-12, where he now must run.
UPDATE: The Critz campaign sends along the statement below:
"Regardless of what moniker the beltway Republicans give him, it won't change the fact that Keith Rothfus is an out of touch former Bush Administration official who supports trade deals that ship jobs overseas and wants to turn Medicare in to a voucher system in order to pay for even more tax cuts for millionaires like himself.
The people of Western Pennsylvania know that Mark Critz is fighting to create jobs by taking on China's unfair trade practices while standing up to those in Congress who want to privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it. This election will be about these important issues and Keith Rothfus is on the wrong side of every one."
KDKA-TV's Jon Delano previewed the race last night and noted Rothfus, who was redistricted out of the 12th late last year, plans to move into its borders in Sewickley within the month.
Today's full NRCC statement on Rothfus after the jump: